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Cyclone Marcia Marches Ashore in Australia's Queensland State

This image from NASA's Aqua satellite and made available by NASA's Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team shows Cyclone Marcia in the Coral Sea, off the northeast coast of Australia, Feb. 18, 2015.

A cyclone with winds of up to 285 kilometers per hour (171 mph) and drenching rains smashed into northern Australia on Friday.

Cyclone Marcia crossed the central Queensland coast near Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon, as a Category 5 system, the most dangerous level of storm.

Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged residents not to venture outside and to take precautions. She had earlier warned residents to prepare, saying Marcia would be a "harrowing and terrifying experience."

"We will be standing by your side," Palaszczuk said Thursday. "This is a severe cyclone. We want everyone to take all the precautions that they possibly can take."

Police had said they were expecting a calamity and urged people to seek shelter in evacuation centers. Search and rescue teams were standing by.

Some information for this report comes from AP.